After many years I have finally tracked down a great looking version of the Spanish film Accion Mutante. What I expected to be a minor sci-fi cult thing turned out to be a well-thought out satire with great special effects, hilarious dialogue and gross-out violence.
Directed by second-time director Alex De La Iglesia and produced by Pedro Almodovar this movie prefigures the films of Robert Rodriguez and several of the Mexican/Spanish directors of the late 90's. It also bares resemblance to such films as City of Lost Children and Delicatessen, with a post-apocalyptic mise en scene not unlike Blade Runner or Robocop.
We begin with the leader of the Mutante group getting out of jail and joining up with his band of crippled rejects to pull another job. The plot involves the kidnapping the daughter of a wealthy baron and collect a 100,000,000 Ecus ransom. The mutant band take a spaceship to a distant planet and while en route a lot of the members die. The leader of the band is left with the kidnapped to survive on an arid and violent planet when the spaceship crash lands. Hilarity ensues. So does violence and bad taste (one of the mutants is a set of siamesse twins; one of them dies so the other must continue to drag his now-taxidermised brother along). Of course the kidnapped develops Stockholm syndrome and becomes attached to her captor which creates further complications when the ransom is eventually delivered. Not only did Accion Mutante bring those movies to mind but also Bad Taste and The Hills Have Eyes (and maybe even Ice Pirates?).
This is an exercise in bad taste, but it can be embraced as the film contains great special effects, gore, insults and humor that wouldn't be out of place in a Terry Gilliam film or a film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. At times it reminded me of the Russian film Kin-Dza-Dza. It contains the humor and satire that became De La Iglesia's MO in later films like Muertos de Risa and Crimen Ferpecto. Although I enjoy all of his films, I wish he would attempt another wild sci-fi film like this one.
The DVD is available in a Pal Region 2 DVD, available from Xploited Cinema (see link) for $28.95 and comes in with a widescreen picture, making-of doc (which includes interviews with Almodovar) and several trailers to various Spanish and American films.